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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Author Insight: People Watching

Where is your favorite place to people watch?

"Coffee shops located near high schools. I'm always stalking--I mean observing teens for YA research purposes in a highly professional manner, and you can glean tons of insight and ideas over a nice caramel macchiato at your local house of overpriced caffeine." - Sarah Ockler, author of Bittersweet.

"The streetcar. Transit is this weird sort of null space, where you're not putting on your work face or school face or party face: you're in between personas, not just stops.  There's a lot of acting that people just don't do when they're surrounded by strangers on the streetcar, and that's when they're fascinating to watch.  Or eavesdrop on.  I eavesdrop like Samwise Gamgee, yo.
" - Leah Bobet, author of Above.

"In my head. I prefer not to engage with people as much as possible because they end up annoying me. So instead I stay home and imagine what it would be like if everyone acted exactly like I wanted them to." - Aaron Karo, author of Lexapros & Cons.

"Urban restaurants, particularly restaurants with outside terraces where you get the combined pleasures of watching people walk by and making up their lives and listening to conversations at nearby tables.  Although never so avidly that it could be considered, say, creepy…" - Ann Stampler, author of Where It Began.

Monday, January 30, 2012

February ARC Giveaway

This one is going to go quickly folks because I want to get them in the mail before week's end in hopes that the lucky reader who wins this bundle can read one or two of these before they release. Giveaway ends 2/2 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Just fill out this FORM to enter. GOOD LUCK!

Dead to You by Lisa McMann

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It's a miracle... at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn't going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he'd be able to put the pieces back together. But there's something that's keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable...

Miseducation of Cameron Post
by Emily M. Danforth

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief she’ll never have to tell them that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.

But that relief soon turns to heartbreak, as Cam is forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and not making waves, and Cam becomes an expert at this—especially at avoiding any questions about her sexuality.

Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. To Cam’s surprise, she and Coley become best friends—while Cam secretly dreams of something more. Just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, her secret is exposed. Ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to “fix” her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self—even if she’s not quite sure who that is. 

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word . . . especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.

*Descriptions from Goodreads.

January ARC and Cinder winners

I have two winners to announce, so, without further ado, the winner of ARCs of Everneath by Brodi Ashton, Incarnate by Jodi Meadows, and Forbidden by Syrie James & Ryan James is...

Ariel W.

And the winner of Cinder by Marissa Meyer is...

Taryn B.

Congratulations to both of you! I'll put the January ARC pack in the mail ASAP, and I will forward information to Feiwel & Friends and Zeighost Media so they can send Cinder out. Thanks to everyone who entered and stay tuned for more giveaways.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

More Author Insight: From Thought to Page

How do you translate your ideas from raw thoughts and images into a story?

"For me, imagery usually evolves through revision. I generally translate my ideas into a comprehensible story by layering in details. I start with an idea, and write a very rough draft, sometimes jotted in a notebook, sometimes typed...but then I go back over it, and over it and over it, sometimes I print scenes out and write on them. Sometimes I word process the entire thing. But it's always a layering process, and often a cutting process as I work to find the right balance between my vision and getting readers to understand/see that vision." - Bethany Griffin, author of Masque of the Read Death.

"With great difficulty. I learned the hard way on my first book that structure is not my natural strength. Between my agent and my editor, I can’t count how often I heard some variation of 'this scene, while hilarious/fascinating/compelling, doesn’t move the story forward.' On my revisions and with my current work-in-progress, I made myself spend more time outlining the story arc." - Barry Wolverton, author of Neversink.

"I sit down, put my hands on the keyboard, and type. I don't know if this is true for other writers, but occasionally I just start thinking in narrative, describing things I see and hear and feel as they happen, as if I were a character in a story. That sounds pretty weird, but I figure it's like muscle memory: if you do something often enough, your body just knows how. Like dance, music, or riding a bike, with enough practice, it's something your body is accustomed to doing." - Jodi Meadows, author of Incarnate.

"I sit down and write. If I don't get things down quickly, I risk losing them to the nasty elves of distraction and/or overthinking. I try to honor my inspiration and write off the top of my head, knowing that the time for editing and honing comes later." - Elizabeth Miles, author of Fury.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cinder Giveaway

The amazing folks at Zeitghost Media and Feiwel & Friends have offered me a copy of Marissa Meyer's Cinder to giveaway to one lucky reader. Check out the book trailer and description below then fill out this FORM to enter. The giveaway ends at noon on Sunday, Jan. 29.

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl....
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
  *Description from Goodreads

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine 
that highlights eagerly anticipated books.

Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Release Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Walker Childrens

Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship.

When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free?
Description from Amazon.

Why I can't wait?
I'm a sucker for stories about reconciling with the past. I learned about this book after seeing a passing glimpse of the cover at a conference last year and knew I had to read it. It sounds like it has a little mystery, intrigue, and a lot of emotion.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Author Insight: From Thought to Page

How do you translate your ideas from raw thoughts and images into a story?

"Ha! If I knew the actual answer to that, I would totally bottle it up and sell it. Let's just say the formula involves a lot of tears, pajamas, chocolate, revising, hair-pulling, teeth-gnashing, coffee, and magic fairy dust. And tears. Did I mention tears?" - Sarah Ockler, author of Bittersweet.

"Sheer, bloody-minded logic!  No, really!

I walk into a story knowing certain really random things about it: Right now, that's the ghosts of superheroes, and abandoned ferris wheels; the inside of a terrible, hurt, vindictive relationship, Vancouver, stormy skies, crows, and the tightrope walk between vigilanteism and civic responsibility.  And since a list of things I just gut-deep know about a story is really not all that helpful when it comes to writing actual words, I start shuffling what I have around constantly: trying to find the lines of logic between them, finding how they might connect.  And when they connect?  I figure out what the implications of those connections are: "If that's true, then that would mean this also has to be true."  And apply that back to the other things…" - Leah Bobet, author of Above.

"To me, storytelling is like throwing a football – it’s an ability you’re born with that can only be honed by practice. You can’t really learn it if you don’t have it in you. That’s why I’m not in the NFL." - Aaron Karo, author of Lexapros & Cons.

"I see scenes as I write them, I try to be inside them, and I attempt to write what I’m seeing and feeling.  Sometimes it works better than others." - Ann Stampler, author of Where It Began.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Release Date: Jan. 10, 2012
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages: 336
Description: Goodreads
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
WARNING: Inside jokes ahead.

Good morning John and fellow readers, it’s Friday, January 20. This review of your latest novel The Fault in Our Stars comes to you in four parts...

Part 1: A Statement of Amazement
John, I should point out that, no matter what I write in this review, the words will never be able to do justice to the way I feel about The Fault in Our Stars. I finished days ago, and I still haven’t been able to fully understand just how I feel about it. Believe me, you were not kidding when you said we would feel ALL OF THE THINGS after reading this, because I did, and I still do. I feel incredibly grateful that I am in the YA & Nerdfighter communities so I know that this book exists. I feel beyond inspired to put good things into the world. I feel the sweet sting of tears, the bubble of uncontrollable laughter, and the overwhelming sense of fulfillment with every passing thought about Hazel and Augustus. John, your talent at putting words together in a way that creates these all of these emotions simultaneously amazes me, and I state that now. I didn’t know words could do that.

Part 2: A Love Letter to Hazel and Augustus
Dear Hazel Grace and Gus, I love you. I love you for being yourselves, even when it’s tough. I love you for not allowing your disease to define you, despite the fact that it easily could. I love you for being completely normal and totally real. I love you for your capital r Romance and your capital h Heroism, even if you feel that my sentimentality is essentially my hamartia. I love your senses of humor and your senses of adventure. Your love is so sweet and true and honest and made of awesome. It’s the kind of love that everyone should experience in their lives, if they’re lucky.

Part 3: An Exclamation
French the llama, it’s hard to write spoiler-free reviews!!

Part 4: A Proclamation to Go Forth and Read.
If you haven’t already, go out and get your hands on a copy of The Fault in Our Stars. You will not be disappointed. You will snort with laughter and unapologetically lie in a pool of your own tears. I cannot tell you how much I loved it, because I don’t think the words have yet been created to describe my true feelings.

Best wishes, DFTBA, and John? I’ll see you on Vlogbrothers.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

More Author Insight: Required Reading

What book do you consider required reading for everyone?

"The Giver." - Bethany Griffin, author of Masque of the Read Death.

"I want to say any of the collected poems of Wallace Stevens, mainly because I think more people should love Wallace Stevens. But really, any favorite collection of poetry will do. Becoming a better reader of poetry can help all writers, I think, whether you aspire to write verse or not (and I don’t). We’re all trying to use language more evocatively, and poetry is sort of the physics of writing." - Barry Wolverton, author of Neversink.

"Everyone has different taste in books. While some of us might have extremely similar taste and some books may have very wide appeal -- I don't know that there's one book I'd say everyone should read. But for aspiring authors (and even experienced authors!), I'd definitely suggest reading some of the major sellers and award winners in their genre, regardless whether they enjoy the book; it's important to know what's reaching the audience." - Jodi Meadows, author of Incarnate.

"For everyone? That's a tough one. For writers, I recommend Stephen King's On Writing; for everyone else my universal recommendations are Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and - of course - Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery." - Elizabeth Miles, author of Fury.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop SOPA, Save the Web

We'd apologize for the click-through but it's important! Wastepaper Prose is supporting the Stop SOPA Blackout along with hundreds of other U.S. sites across the interwebs, including Wikipedia and...
(yeah, you can see a little bit of the Google "g" there.)

Learn more by watching the video below, clicking the Google banner or HERE (the only working Wikipedia page today) or by tuning in to your local news. NPR has already jumped on it!

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

To participate and use the blackout click through, go to http://sopablackout.org/  If you're on WordPress,
check out the plug-ins they made so you can join in too!

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine 
that highlights eagerly anticipated books.

The Savage Grace by Bree Despain
Release Date: March 13, 2012
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Author Website: http://www.breedespain.com/

A troubled soul. An impossible choice. A final battle.

Wrestling with the werewolf curse pulsing deep inside of her, Grace Divine was finally able to find her brother, but it nearly cost her everything.

With her boyfriend, Daniel, stuck in wolf form and Sirhan's death approaching, time is running out for Grace to stop Caleb Kalbi and his gang of demons. If she fails, her family and hometown will perish. Everything rests on Grace's shoulders.
Description from Goodreads.

Why I can't wait?
The ending of The Lost Saint made me gasp.  So I read it again.  Then I yelled, "WHAT?!?" which scared my dog enough to make her jump off the couch and run into the next room.  Grace and Daniel are one of my favorite couples because they are so genuine, and they act like regular old teenagers too.  I want to know if Grace is able to get a handle on her powers, if (and when!) Daniel transforms, if Jude makes up his mind to be a Good Wolf or a Bad Wolf, if Baby James will ever grow out of his unfortunate nickname.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Author Insight: Required Reading

What book do you consider required reading for everyone?

"It's cheating to say *my* books, right? ;-) Okay. I do pimp Melina Marchetta's Jellicoe Road a lot, but now I'm reading John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, and I think that's going to be my next omg-you-HAVE-to-read-this mission." - Sarah Ockler, author of Bittersweet.

"Oh, this I can't answer!  I spent four years working at an independent bookstore, and the big lesson of bookselling is that there's not one book on Earth that's for everyone.  And if there is, it's probably boring as dirt, because the only way you're acceptable to everyone is by inspiring real love in no one." - Leah Bobet, author of Above.

"Fooled By Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. It will change the way you look at the world, but I would only recommend it if you like pompously written business books." - Aaron Karo, author of Lexapros & Cons.

"Romeo and Juliet: love, hate, prejudice, insane societal strictures, passion, loyalty, death, bad timing, and breathtaking poetry. How do you beat that?" - Ann Stampler, author of Where It Began.

"It’s not technically a book, but I think everyone should have to read at least one of the major Shakespeare plays. I’m not sure I agree that Shakespeare “invented the human”, at least not single-handedly, but I think if you’re going to understand people and language and modern life and western civilization, he’s as good a place as any to start.  Runner up: Consider the Lobster, by David Foster Wallace, the reading of which makes me feel more human." - Robin Wasserman, author of The Book of Blood and Shadow.

"That's such a tough call. There's so many good ones to pick from. The word everyone makes me think I should pick something that can benjoyed by all ages. So, I'll have to go with a picture book. I loved the Church Mice picture books by Graham Oakley as a kid, and I remember my mom enjoyed them as much as I did. Probably our favorite was The Church Mice and the Moon. It's got everything a good book should have, adventure, humor, great dialog and a cantankerous cat." - Alissa Grosso, author of Ferocity Summer.

"Black Beauty, because animals have plights." - Kendare Blake, author of Girl of Nightmares. 

"I try to convince everyone to at least give The Gunslinger by Stephen King, a chance. It’s the most bizarre book I’ve ever read, and has inspired me more than any other book." - Jennifer Bosworth, author of Struck

"Dozens of books come to mind, but I would definitely include One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez." - Meg Medina, author of The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind.

"Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. It’s a look at teen suicide that leaves the reader feeling surprisingly hopeful. But more than that, it’s a reminder that you never know what someone else is going through, and to be kind to one another." - Cat Patrick, author of Revived.

"Gosh...I think reading is far too subjective for my favorite reads to be everyone else's, but I don't think I'd be amiss in telling people that if they haven't read Sneetches by Dr. Seuss they are missing out." - Gwen Hayes, author of Dreaming Awake.

"The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss." - Nina Malkin, author of Swear

Come back Thursday to find our what book the rest of the authors think should be required reading!
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Friday, January 13, 2012

January ARC Giveaway

Just fill out this FORM for your chance to win!

Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Balzer+Bray, January

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...

Forbidden by Syrie James
& Ryan M. James
HarperTeen, January 24

She should not exist. 

He should not love her. 

Claire Brennan has been attending Emerson Academy for two years now (the longest she and her mom have remained anywhere) and she’s desperate to stay put for the rest of high school. So there’s no way she’s going to tell her mom about the psychic visions she’s been having or the creepy warnings that she’s in danger. 

Alec MacKenzie is fed up with his duties to watch and, when necessary, eliminate the descendants of his angelic forefathers. He chose Emerson as the ideal hiding place where he could be normal for once. He hadn’t factored Claire into his plans. . . . 

Their love is forbidden, going against everything Alec has been taught to believe. But when the reason behind Claire’s unusual powers is revealed and the threat to her life becomes clear, how far will Alec go to protect her?

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Katherine Tegen Books, January 31

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why. 

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame? 

Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?